Devil in the Grove

Devil in the Grove

Thurgood Marshall, the Groveland Boys, and the Dawn of A New America

eBook - 2012
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Devil in the Grove is the winner of the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction.Arguably the most important American lawyer of the twentieth century, Thurgood Marshall was on the verge of bringing the landmark suit Brown volume Board of Education before the U.S. Supreme Court when he became embroiled in an explosive and deadly case that threatened to change the course of the civil rights movement and cost him his life.In 1949, Florida's orange industry was booming, and citrus barons got rich on the backs of cheap Jim Crow labor. To maintain order and profits, they turned to Willis V. McCall, a violent sheriff who ruled Lake County with murderous resolve. When a white seventeen-year-old Groveland girl cried rape, McCall was fast on the trail of four young blacks who dared to envision a future for themselves beyond the citrus groves. By day's end, the Ku Klux Klan had rolled into town, burning the homes of blacks to the ground and...
Publisher: 2012
ISBN: 9780062097712
Branch Call Number: E-Book
Characteristics: 1 online resource
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Jul 05, 2017

King's Devil in the Grove is an entertaining hybrid that mixes the novelist styles of the true crime and court-room procedural with historical and political analysis and biography. While entertaining the historical and political analysis is a bit underdeveloped and shallow. Gilbert would have us blame a racist and violent sheriff, his pathological deputy and their Klan friends for the murders of the Grove four. But Gilbert's own analysis shows the situation was more complex than that. As an elected official the Sheriff was dependant on his corporate funds to underwrite his successful campaigns. His corporate funders required a cowed and submissive black labour force in their orange groves and other industries. But they did not want them so terrified by the Klan as to flee the county. So the sheriff had to control the Klan at times. Meanwhile, the sheriff, a true paragon of corruption, was at the same time involved in profiting from gambling. This was another angle in the set-up of one of the four black victims. The complexities do not lend themselves to simply blaming the Sheriff and the Klan. Rather there was an overdetermination of conflicting forces involved beyond the control of any single evil character. Different forms of racism, fascism, societal sexual dysfunction, and early modern capitalism were all involved in a truly frightening stew of violence and ignorance. Still the book helps us glimpse the American South as a variety of fascist police state that used the brutally violent ISIS-like KKK as a state sponsored terrorist militia.

Aug 10, 2016

Gripping and horrifying story of Thurgood Marshall's and the NAACP's efforts to save four falsely accused black men in a rape charge as the white-entrenched communities help incite and participate in violence, death and danger against those who would try to break the accepted way of life.

Jul 27, 2016

Great book about Thurgood Marshall and the beginnings of the fight for Civil Rights in this country. The story centers on a murder trial in Central Florida but speaks to the body of work done by Marshall and the NAACP in those early years. Should be read by all and sadly still rings true about our country today.

Nov 30, 2014

Excellent account of the trauma suffered by many during the civil rights struggle, and the efforts to address the inequalities of the justice system.


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